Hosting an open beta gives developers a chance to show off the work they’ve put into game to players eagerly awaiting the game’s release. While the primary goal for developers who run the open beta is to test out back-end and structural issues (which is why Battlefield 1‘s beta launched with so many server issues), in recent years they have been additionally geared towards getting players hyped-up enough to want to pre-order the game. With one of the main attractions to the Battlefield series being in its multiplayer, it makes sense on multiple levels to give players a chance to try a few of the game modes that will be featured in multiplayer. If EA can improve the servers before the actual launch of the game (because server issues during a beta is much more forgivable than server issues at the launch of the game), then everybody wins.
The open beta for Battlefield 1 features two multiplayer game modes: the returning fan-favorite game mode Conquest, and the new mode Rush. Conquest hosts 64-player matches where soldiers battle members of the opposing team in an effort to get the most points. There are also objectives scattered across the map that players can conquer to receive more points. Rush is an objective-driven game mode where each sector has two destructible telegraph post that one team tries to defend while the others attack. If the attacking team destroys the two posts, the defenders must retreat to the next sector and try to defend the next two posts. Rush mode is won once the attackers conquer each sector, or the defenders can successfully defend one sector for 10 minutes. Both game modes have modes of transportation (plane, tank, horse, etc.) throughout the map, and smart strategies with these vehicles combined with proper teamwork is the key to winning the match.
Since Conquest is a game mode that has been around for a while in the Battlefield series, I am currently spending the most time in Battlefield 1‘s new mode, Rush. While it’s fun to jump in and just shoot each other for the sake of getting points, I found I enjoy being driven by the objective of destroying/defending the telegraphs, while shooting the enemy combatants was the secondary goal.
In general, Battlefield 1 felt very good. All of the guns look authentic when compared to their real-world source material. It’s been a while since any shooter game has gone back to the era of World War 1, and to see the weapons and vehicles from that time is very cool. I hope that the game adds bits of knowledge about the hardware and locations from the wars so that history lovers, like myself, can dig further into the setting. The weapons have good handling and things like their recoil and bullet drop feel true to the time that they are from. While I was frustrated early on with the gun recoil, it is factually accurate to the time, and honestly it didn’t portray anything wrong with the game. Really, if I missed the shot, it was my fault and not the gun’s fault. After adjusting to the weapons and being able to predict the bullet drops over a long distance, and steadying my aim to account for the recoil, everything felt much more fluid and playable.
The vehicles were quick to jump into and learn how to use. The bullet drop on tanks was quick to pick up because it felt the same as any other tank I’ve ever used in a game. Dog fights in airplanes felt enjoyable. Once you have the hang of flying the aircraft and how to do some of the trickier maneuvers, you can engage in some of the most exciting combat scenarios in the game. If you are fortunate enough to get an aircraft, you can shoot down other planes in spectacular dogfights. You can also provide support to your team on the ground. If there are tanks causing your allies grief, one of the scouts can mark where the particular tank is, showing you exactly where it is and leaving it up to you to destroy it. If you have a steady enough hand, you can even try and pick off the enemy players running around out of cover. As a ground combatant, I didn’t have players in airplanes do this to me a whole lot, but when they did, it was a harsh reminder to find cover when you can. In both Conquest and Rush, you have the ability to jump on a horse at your spawn point. Horses were great for getting around, especially when trying to control the objective on the south end of the map. I wasn’t incredibly impressed with combat while on horse-back.
The guns never quite held steady enough for me to achieve many
significant shots on my enemies, and they make you stand out enough that skilled snipers (which there tend to be a lot of) can pick you off before you get the chance to shoot your gun. Having access to the sword was a great addition, but it was just as finicky as using the gun. It takes too much finesse to use the sword effectively, and I’m more efficient when using a gun on foot. There were plenty of stand-out time when using the horse that solidified the fact that it can be pretty sweet to use one, but nothing that convinced me that they were indispensable, or even a necessity.
There seems to be a good amount of customization options in Battlefield 1. You can change the class of solider you play by using the bumpers (on Xbox One) while spawning or respawing into the match. If your loadout isn’t working particularly well for you, you can change that mid-game as well. Though gaining points, you can rank-up to higher military ranks. The typical Battlefield formula. Through ranking up, you get access to better weapons and gadgets to use. These are purchased with War Bonds, currency gained through leveling up, and once a weapon or gadget has been requisitioned, you can use it with any class. I would also guess that you can receive War Bonds through actions in the single player campaign as well, though we’ll have to wait for the release of the game to know for sure how, or if, they plan to implement any role-overs from the single player into multiplayer.
Since EA had a chance to resolve the server issues, I haven’t run into any problem. I’ve read other players reporting that they still can’t get into a game, but I have yet to run into that issues. For me, the game finds a match, and runs it’s filters, quickly and I can be playing a game less than a minute after deciding what game mode to play. For the players who are running into the server issues, keep reporting them and hopefully EA and find what is plaguing the Battlefield 1 servers.
These have been my impressions of the Battlefield 1 open beta. The game seems to be progressing smoothly, and I am impressed by how quickly issues are being resolved by both EA and Dice. Gameplay wise, Battlefield 1 is fun, and that’s coming from a guy who doesn’t typically enjoy first-person shooters which have such a heavy emphasis on multiplayer. Battlefield 1 releases on October 21st, so fans still have a little bit of time to wait before they get their hands on the game.
Have you done anything to turn the tide of war while playing the beta for Battlefield 1? Have you mastered horse combat? Let me know your thoughts and experiences with the Battlefield 1 beta in the comments below!